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First Aid: Rashes

First Aid

Rashes can be caused by viruses, bacteria, medications, heat, allergies, and many other things. Many are only a minor annoyance, but some can be serious and require medical treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

  • redness
  • spots on the skin
  • scaly skin
  • itchiness
  • bumps
  • blisters
  • pimples

What to Do

To ease discomfort:

  • add a few cups of oatmeal to the bath
  • pat the skin dry (instead of rubbing) after a bath or shower
  • avoid scrubbing or scratching the affected skin
  • leave the rash exposed to the air as much as possible

Seek Medical Care


  • your child also has a fever
  • your child looks ill
  • there are tiny red dots that cannot be felt when touched and don’t fade when pressed
  • there are bruises not related to injuries
  • there is no improvement after a week

Think Prevention!

Most rashes are difficult to avoid. However, some specific rashes can be prevented:

  • Have kids avoid people with contagious skin rashes.
  • For allergic rashes, try to avoid the substance that causes the reaction.
  • Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
  • If your child tends to get eczema flare-ups, avoid harsh soaps.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014